It is easy to get lost in the digital world of photography. Things move quickly and like the magic broom in Fantasia, before you know it water is overflowing everywhere. We carry multiple memory cards that hold hundreds and thousands of photographs just begging to be splattered across the interverse. For me, this has created an unwanted arms race. So many images that I often can not look at another and that is a true shame because the next one, the one I don't look at, might be inspirational.
There are lots of reason to fill those memory cards in your camera - weddings, family gatherings, air shows and portrait sittings all come to mind. But now, what are you going to do with 2K of wedding images of 300+ from a portrait sitting? Are all of these images equally good? Of course not. Here is what I do - you can do whatever works for you.
The day after the photography event, I import ALL of the images stored in the memory card into a folder in Lightroom. I never delete images from my camera. Never. I review them looking for obvious rejects (oh, look, an out of focus image of my foot) and selects (ones that make me glad I am a photographer). If ithey don't get rejected or selected, I just ignore them for now.
I filter for the selects to begin the editing process - I only look at the selects. This thins the herd significantly. Some of the selects are better than other, but which ones will make it to the top of the list? It is too early to tell because the images are in raw file format and have not been edited. I make general adjustments including white balance and film emulation at this point to all of the selects. Then I go about individually editing each of them making both global and selected adjustments. This is the part of my workflow that takes the most time, but it is time well spent. I am looking to get all of the goodness available from each image because the next step will determine which ones are shared with clients, friends and family or used to promote my photography business.
After the selects are edited I still have more images than I or a client can effectively manage. There are just too many to identify the great ones apart from the good ones. That's when I start rating each image. My rating method is simple -
'it is good" gets one star
"it is really good" gets two stars
"OMG, look at that will ya" gets three stars
There are generally fewer two and even less three star images that one stars. Many of the two and one star images come from the same group as the three star, but they are not as good. Next, I filter for the three stars and see if any of them need additional fussing, conversion to BW or immediate celebration. Clients receive all of the three star photographs and I also make a few selected prints for them. If there are other specific images that they want, I will look for them in the two star group. I delete all of the rejected images. Starred and ignored mages are stored on a server and backed up. Client images are posted to my web site where they can be shared or downloaded.
How many do I share? A precious few. Why? because less is more. We can only process so many images in a day or the few moments that some one has to spare. Make them your very best.
See ya around,
The numbers - 300+ images made during this portraiture sitting became less than 40 after this process. Why do I wait a day to import my photos? Because like all children, I am excited during and after a shoot. Often these expectation do not match reality and it works best for me to wait until I calm down a little before I start reviewing my work. If it is good it will still be good the next day.